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NEWS STORIES

Hodag to appear on Travel ChannelSubmitted: 08/23/2013

Lauren Stephenson
5 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
lstephenson@wjfw.com

RHINELANDER - We all know the Hodag is both fierce and awesome.

Now the whole nation will know...or at least, anyone watching the Travel Channel.

Travel Channel producers picked up the Hodag for their show, "Mysteries at the Museum."

The segment will get into the history of the Hodag and logging life in the Northwoods.

Historical Society volunteers are happy about that.

They hope the national attention will bring more people to the museum and historical complex.

"The exposure is important because especially now adays people don't have time to think or read a lot about history, and that's our purpose: to preserve and present Rhinelander's history," says Rhinelander Historical Society and Museum President June Thiel.

This isn't the Hodag's first brush with fame.

It was featured on Scooby Doo last August.

It gained national attention back in the late 1800s when Gene Shepherd created the mythical creature.

It became so famous the Smithsonian in Washington, DC became interested.

"He didn't admit that it wasn't real until the Smithsonian was sending some scientists up to see this because the name at that time, the Hodag, the fame of it, traveled outside of Rhinelander, outside of the state, into the whole United States," Thiel explains.

The "Mysteries at the Museum" episode about the Hodag airs on the Travel Channel Aug 29 at 8pm.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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RHINELANDER - A local outdoor sports club hopes the second annual RASTA (Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association) Rally at Washburn Lake will be even more successful than the first. This Sunday's mountain bike races are some of the earliest in the year in the Northwoods.

Bikers will race on the trails at Washburn Lake west of Rhinelander. Multiple races target different experience levels of mountain bikers, from beginner to expert.

The money raised goes to RASTA projects like trail grooming and maintenance. Races start at 1pm on Sunday. Click the link below for more information.

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WISCONSIN DELLS - A 21-year-old Chicago man who went missing in the Wisconsin River near the Wisconsin Dells remains missing.

Police in Columbia County are using sonar to try and find his body. Police say the man went under water around 7:15pm on Saturday while swimming to shore and didn't resurface.

Divers worked until midnight to find the man. Search efforts continued Sunday morning. Police say the man was fishing on a rock island area and appeared to get caught in a current while swimming back to shore.

Family members and witnesses tried to help him but couldn't. The victim's name is not being released at this time.

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